Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna staved off stiff resistance from Max Mirnyi and Alexander Bury before advancing to the men's doubles pre-quarterfinals while India's singles challenge ended at the London Olympics with the defeat of Vishnu Vardhan, here today.
The seventh seed Indian pair, who were in news for challenging AITA diktat recorded a hard-earned 7-6 (4) 6-7 (4) 8-6 win over the Belarusian pair in the marathon first round match, which lasted for two hours and 26 minutes. They will now fight it out with French combination of Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet.
Bhupathi and Bopanna, who both had refused to play with Leander Paes, were stretched to their limits and they had to dig deep into their reserves to edge past the gritty Belarusian combination.
After the first two sets were stretched to tie-breakers, the Indian team got the crucial break in the 13th game of the decisive third set and then served out the match in the next game.
Earlier, 304-ranked Vardhan fought hard but could not make the most of the lucky opportunity he got to compete in singles as he lost 3-6 2-6 to world number 77 Blaz Kavcic.
Vardhan had entered the men's singles draw when Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew due to a right hamstring injury.
Young Vardhan lost to his Slovakian rival in one hour and 12 minutes. It was the third meeting between the two players and the Slovakian extended his lead to 3-0. It was a straight-set defeat but Vardhan did push his rival and made him his earn points.
With this defeat, Indian challenge has ended in the men's singles as Somdev Devvarman had already bowed out after losing to Jarkko Nieminen of Finland.
Vardhan is slated to play men's doubles with Leander Paes later in the day.